Council leader calls on government to help Wakefield become a university city

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The leader of Wakefield Council is calling on the government to support the city’s university aspirations after Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to boost technical skills.

Coun Peter Box said he welcomed her ‘Industrial Strategy’, which aims to prepare youngsters for “high-skilled, high-paid jobs”, establish new education institutions focusing on science, technology, engineering and maths and make technical training a “credible alternative” to academic higher education.

Coun Box said Wakefield was poised to play a key part in the new technical education strategy.

He said: “We are massively ambitious for our young people and this week’s announcement could enable us to build on the work already being done to improve higher level skills in our key growth sectors.

“We welcome the fact that the government have recognised the need to create new educational institutions to support the specific strengths in that local area.

“Wakefield is well placed to be part of this and we urge the government to support our aspiration to become a university city and help us deliver a technical university.”

An Advanced Skills and Innovation Centre is currently under construction at Wakefield College’s city campus.

The new university centre will help young adults develop higher-level skills and support businesses, allowing them to access people with degree-level training for their workforce.

The district is also home to training centre Backstage Academy, which teaches more than 300 students in the live events industry.

Coun box said: “Wakefield understands the need to have strong links between industry and education, and we already have partnerships in place delivering the type of technical education that will create a skilled workforce to meet the needs of our key businesses.

“We are now hoping to meet with ministers to discuss how we can take our ambitions forward.”